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Christians Confront the US Government Shutdown

Posted by Simon Lee Briggs on October 27, 2013 at 6:40 AM

 

All of us who operate from a Christian worldview are just as unhappy with the current government shutdown as are those who do not share this worldview, or who do not consider themselves "religious." We see how politicians decision to this partial shutdown has profoundly affected the lives of many, especially those who have low incomes, their children, the families of those who have given their lives in military service, disabled veterans, many federal workers considered "nonessential, and other vulnerable people. Yet these same politicians continue to collect their own salaries and enjoy numerous benefits. Yes, some have said that they are foregoing those salaries and have proposed legislation to stop governmental salaries as long as the shutdown continues. We may or may not be aware that, in a week, if the US house Of Representatives, the US Senate, and President Obama do not reach a compromise and raise the debt ceiling, the US will go into default. This means that the US can't pay its bills and can't borrow more money. The result? Most services and most programs, like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran's Benefits, Head Start and many other services that many of us in the US count on just to survive, will be shut down. While we have a partial government now, we would have a total government shutdown if the US were allowed to go into default. This has never happened in US history according to my understanding.

 

What would God say about what is going on in Washington and about this current economic crisis? Well, according to my understanding of the Scriptures, God places a lot of importance on how we treat vulnerable groups and individuals, especially children and the poor. This includes government policies and decisions that hurt vulnerable groups and individuals. He condemns those in power profiting off them, which most of us, Christian and non-Christian, see as the US government doing to so many of us in the US. The Affordable Care Act, or as many call it, Obamacare? Which was the reason for the shutdown in the first place? What would God say about either keeping it funded, as many in Washington and the President want, or repealing it, which many others in Washington are calling for? Again, according to my understanding of the Scriptures, God calls on all of us to do all we can to preserve and protect the lives of others. This incudes helping others access health care, which helps preserve life. So He would expect the government to do all it can to preserve the lives of its citizens, which includes making accessible healthcare to those who can't get it on their own.

 

Yes, fiscal responsibility matters and God is against irresponsible spending, waste and fraud. This hold true whether these are being done by us as private citizens or is being done by the government in its policies and decisions. Therefore a balancing act has to be done. God expects this of us private citizens, particularly us Christians. He expects it of a government. So the US government ought to, Biblically speaking, strive to be fiscally responsible while at the same time allow enough spending to help those poor, less fortunate, and vulnerable citizens who can't help themselves or who need a hand up. He hates strife and disharmony and clearly would not approve of all the partisanship bickering that has been going on for a long time and has climaxed in the current government shutdown. What we see going on now is much, much older than President Obama's time in office and are only a build-up of what has been going on in Washington for decades. And since the problem is so old, it will take a long time to fix it. Just as with any human problem, it will take everyone working together, setting aside their differences, discerning what is best for the interest of all concerned, and courage to act according to one's convictions.

 

Yes, most of us are frustrated, even angry, with the US government. The phone lines of Congressmen and Congresswomen are being flooded with angry, frustrated phone calls from their constituents. Many, in frustration, are taking to the street or going to the media. Petitions are being circulated. As Christians, whatever we feel about the US government, we are called to honor them, to willingly render our duties to them (taxes, voting, etc.), and to pray for them. They need our prayers as much as ever now, as Christians confronting a shutdown that can become a total shutdown. Pray that God will give them grace to set aside their differences, wisdom to discern what to do for the best of all citizens, and the courage to carry it out. Our faith ought not be in a government that is made up of imperfect, sinful people like us. Our faith must be in a perfect, faithful God Who will keep His promises to us and will do what is right. We need to remember that He is in control, even when it doesn't look like it. He has power over all human rulers and can work through even corrupt politicians.

 

No matter what you believe, what do you think? Sound off.


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